MARCO ISLAND — Mike Vanderjagt will return as the head coach for the Marco Island Charter Middle School football team.
Charter Principal George Abounader conducted a lengthy review of an incident involving a student and Vanderjagt on March 12, which led to a Marco Police investigation and a report being filed with the State’s Attorney’s office.
The State’s Attorney’s Office did not find cause for further action shortly before the school board met on May 23. At the meeting, the board decided to leave the decision of whether Vanderjagt returned as coach to Abounader.
Abounader said Friday that he spoke with Vanderjagt on Thursday.
“I had a conversation with Mike Vanderjagt and told him that he was cleared to seek a coaching position at our school,” Abounader said. “I indicated that my job was to determine his eligibility to coach at our school, but that the selection of coaches has always been within the purview of Roger Raymond, our director of athletics. I suggested to Mike that if he still wanted to coach he should speak with Roger.”
Raymond did meet with Vanderjagt and confirmed that the former NFL place-kicker would be the coach.
Raymond could not be reached for comment, but said earlier that if no charges were filed he felt Vanderjagt should be the coach.
Neither Abdounader nor Vanderjagt discussed the reasons for his return.
“It’s over and we are moving forward,” Vanderjagt said. “I want to continue the success we had in our first season.”
The incident at the school occurred in a parking lot, according to reports. Police said the student taunted Vanderjagt on missing an important field goal during his career with the Indianapolis Colts.
The police report indicated that Vanderjagt had grabbed the student by the throat, which Vanderjagt denied. Vanderjagt said he placed his hand on the student’s shoulder, at the base of his neck, to hold him in place while he spoke to him.
Practice begins Monday for the Charter School team, with Vanderjagt and assistants Scott Gibbs and Greg West ready to begin the team’s second season. The Eagles went 8-1 in 2011.
While Vanderjagt does come back as the Charter School coach, he will not be the Marco Island Academy Charter High School football team’s first head football coach.
When no charges were filed against Vanderjagt in May, Raymond, athletic director for both schools, offered Vanderjagt the MIA job.
While Vanderjagt was in Canada on vacation this summer, Andy Delgado worked with the MIA team during voluntary workouts. As it became apparent that practice times for both schools would conflict, Delgado was named MIA’s head coach.
Raymond talked about how Delgado had handled the situation and how he had given his time, knowing that he may not be the head coach. Raymond said Delgado had grown a bond with the players and said he expected he will do a good job.